Developing Artist Program

The FMO Developing Artist Program (formerly known as the FMO Youth Program) is a unique career development opportunity for emerging artists ages 18-25. Participants learn directly through one-on-one mentorship with established artists, collaborate with their peers, sharpen industry knowledge and technical skills at workshops and master classes, and integrate into a welcoming community at Canada’s largest annual Folk Music industry gathering. Select artists will be offered the opportunity to showcase at the Folk Music Ontario Conference, in Mississauga, October 3-6, 2024.

Participants are chosen by external jurors based on their interest, ability and experience.

Past mentors include AHI, Kaia Kater, Quique Escamilla, YAO, Dayna Manning, Lynn Miles, Julian Taylor, Cécile Doo-Kingué, Leonard Sumner, Graydon James, The Good Lovelies, Bob Wiseman, and Brian Kobayakawa.

Past participants include artists such as Annie Sumi, Missy Bauman, Tim Jackson, Joëlle Villeneuve, Campbell Woods, Moscow Apartment, Kaia Kater, Ariana Gillis, The Lifers, Nabi Loney (Ellevator), and Benjamin Dakota Rogers.

2023 Program Participants

A Soft Place to Land (Adina Vlasov and Jack Gaughan)


Saturday, Oct 14, 3:40pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase

Cameron Summers

Oakville, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 3:20pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase

Emma Campbell

Toronto, On

Saturday, Oct 14, 4:20pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase

Francesca Panetta

Thornton, On

Saturday, Oct 14, 1PM, Suite 100, DAP Showcase 

Jessica Spurrell

Toronto, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 1:40pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase


Jessie Gosling

Barrie, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 4pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase 

Irish Millie

Peterborough, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 2:20pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase


Nicholas Campbell

Peterborough, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 2pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase

Rebecca Hope

Pembroke, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 3pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase

Vivian Forte

Guelph, ON

Saturday, Oct 14, 1:20pm, Suite 100, DAP Showcase 


2022 Program Participants

Mentors: Dayna Manning, Sophie Lukacs, Mikhail Laxton, Madeleine Roger 
Artists: Emma Lamontagne, Zack Elliott, Marianne Keuleman, Lauryn Macfarlane, Bella Francis, Sofia Duhaime, George Crotty & Oisin Hannigan, Leah Holtom

How It Works

The Developing Artist (DAP) program features online networking, one-on-one mentorship, and learning sessions, that take place over the months prior and after the FMO conference, with opportunities for one-on-one mentoring, workshops, showcasing, and further in-person networking at the FMO conference.  

The program is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region between ages 18* and 25.

*If you are under age 18 by October 3, 2024 you are welcome to apply for the program, however, if you are chosen, you will be required to have a parent/guardian accompany you to the conference as a registered delegate.

Selected participants will be offered a complimentary registration to the 2024 Folk Music Ontario Conference, and will receive an honorarium for their participation. During the application process, eligible applicants will be able to apply for the Taylor Mitchell Bursary, which awards a $500 Bursary to a selected applicant. 


In the weeks leading up to the conference, DAP participants will take part in workshops via Zoom, meeting other artists and learning directly from industry experts. These sessions will train artists in topics such as marketing, licensing, preparing a release, touring/shows and more. At least one session will be dedicated to Conference 101: networking, showcasing, and making the most of the event.  

It is required that participants attend both the pre-conference online activities as well as the in-person conference.


All participants in the Developing Artist Program will be invited to showcase at the Folk Music Ontario Conference, taking place October 12-15th, 2023, in London Ontario. Using the skills learned in the pre-conference sessions, participants take part in all conference activities, as well as program-specific sessions such as:  

  • Interacting in one-on-one meetings with assigned mentors participating in professional development activities 
  • DAP Song Circle / Jam Session
  • Performance Coaching / Developing a showcase performance 
  • Performing a showcase 
  • Networking events with industry professionals

Taylor Mitchell Bursary

The Taylor Mitchell Bursary was established in 2010 by Emily Mitchell, in memory of her daughter, Canadian songwriter Taylor Mitchell. The bursary is to support one participant in the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program who might otherwise be prevented from taking part. 

The bursary recipient receives up to $500 towards costs associated with attending the FMO conference and participating in the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program. 

While the bursary will be dispersed prior to the conference to help offset costs, the award will be presented to the recipient live during the Ontario Folk Music Awards.


Must be nominated for the bursary by a teacher/community member/mentor, in light of the goals of the bursary program. 
Must be selected as a participant of the Performer Stream of the Developing Artist Program. Participants will be given the option to apply for the bursary in their application.

This program is made possible through the generous support of Ontario Creates